Quakers attack later licensing bid

QUAKERS have objected to proposals that would see a bar near to their town centre headquarters extending its opening times.The owners of Edward's bar, which is next to the Odeon Cinema in Head Street, Colchester, have applied to the local council's planning committee for later hours.

QUAKERS have objected to proposals that would see a bar near to their town centre headquarters extending its opening times.

The owners of Edward's bar, which is next to the Odeon Cinema in Head Street, Colchester, have applied to the local council's planning committee for later hours.

The bar wants to be able to stay open until 12.30am from Sunday to Wednesday, until 1.30am on Thursdays and until 2.30am on Saturdays.

But members of the Society of Friends - known as the Quakers - have complained, saying later opening will disturb a warden who lives at its meeting house, to the rear of the bar.


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They also voiced concerns about increased anti-social behaviour nearby, and said the problem of disruption was spreading across the whole of the town centre.

Mitchells and Butlers Retail Ltd, who own Edward's, has already agreed to sign a Unilateral Undertaking (UU) not to use doors at the rear of the property between 11pm and 8am, except in emergency.

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They have also offered to make sure that the doors are not used before 12pm on Sundays, to allow the Quakers to take part in a special form of silent worship.

However, Honor Chamberlain, a spokeswoman for the Quakers, said: “We are very concerned because in our meeting house we have a resident warden and we feel his human rights are being infringed.

“This is a residential area. Just across the road there is Balkerne Gardens and people who have had too much to drink wander around there.

“There is also a home for older people who are light sleepers and can be easily disturbed.

“If this is allowed, it will result in more noisy people. If you ask residents of Colchester whether they like to go into the town centre late at night they say they wouldn't.

“All this riotousness is getting worse, right across the town.”

Colchester Borough Council planning officers, however, have recommended that councillors delegate powers to its head of planning to grant the permission, subject to an up-to-date and accurate UU being negotiated and signed.

Members of the planning committee will consider the application at a 6pm meeting on Thursday at Colchester Town Hall.

Nobody from Mitchells and Butlers Retail Ltd was available for comment yesterday.

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